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Reference tools, like dictionaries and encyclopedias, can be good
starting places when you're trying to find some basic information.
These are a few well-known examples but looking on the shelves nearby may
result in some other useful resources as well.
These items are all located in the reference section, unless otherwise specified.
The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music (print)
Call Number: ML100 G27
This is the definitive reference tool for ethnomusicology. It takes a slightly more academic approach than the rough guide.
It is divided into 10 volumes by geographic area: Vol. 1 Africa; Vol. 2 South America, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean; Vol. 3 The United States and Canada; Vol. 4 Southeast Asia; Vol. 5 South Asia: The Indian Subcontinent; Vol. 6 The Middle East; Vol. 7 East Asia: China, Japan, and Korea; Vol. 8 Europe; Vol. 9 Australia and the Pacific Islands; Vol. 10 The World's Music: General Perspectives and Reference Tools
The tenth volume contains very useful information (like glossaries, indexes, bibliographies, and discographies) if you would like to expand your search beyond basic information.
World Music: The Rough Guide
Call Number: ML100 W67 1999
This is a fun place to start your research. It includes a lot of pictures and information about recordings.
The text is divided into two volumes: the first covers Africa, Europe and the Middle East while the second covers Latin and Norton America, Caribbean, India, Asia and Pacific.
Continuum encyclopedia of popular music of the world
Call Number: ML102.P66 C66
As the title implies, this encyclopedia covers popular music. It would probably not be a good resource if you're interested in traditional music but popular music is becoming more and more a genre to be studied academically.
It is divided into two sections. The first covers more peripheral topics and is made up of Vol. 1 Media, Industry and Society and Vol. 2 Performance and Production. The second section does cover musical styles by location and is divided into Vol. 3 Caribbean and Latin America; Vol. 4 North America; Vol. 5 Oceania and Asia; Vol. 6 Africa and Middle East; and Vol. 7 Europe.
The new Grove dictionary of music and musicians
Call Number: Call Number: ML100 G76N382001
New Grove is better for western art music but often has articles on world music topics. It also has the benefit of, unlike Garland, being available online through UIUC.
There is a copy for public use located near (but not behind!) the reference desk. There are also older editions in the reference section.